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Penguins Report: 4/17/11

Sunday, 04.17.2011 / 10:45 AM / Penguins Report
By Michelle Crechiolo

  • Everyone is accounted for at practice except N. Johnson, Crosby and Cooke (10:59 AM).
  • Johnny's rockin' some new white pads at practice (10:59 AM).
  • Today's Penguins Insider segment with yours truly (3:25 PM).
  • The Pens' fourth line is, as Jason Seidling would say, "en fuego" (4:58 PM).
  • PensTV consults with Marc-Andre Fleury (3:24 PM).
  • Bylsma on the power play, staying disciplined, the two-day break and Game 3s (among other things) (1:25 PM).
  • Orpik, Dupuis, Neal and Kunitz discuss Game 2 and how they'll rebound for Game 3 (1:01 PM).
  • Pics of the Pens at work (11:16 AM).
  • Bylsma discoursed on Saturday despite the Pens' off day (10:30 AM).



4:58 PM:
The Pens' fourth line is brimming with experience and they always seem to bring their 'A' game come playoff time, as they've been a huge factor in Games 1 and 2 of the series. Click here to read more.



3:25 PM:
After the team hit the road, I did my best Veronica Corningstone impression to bring you today's PensTV online update from CONSOL Energy Center. I'm no Steve Mears, but hopefully I somewhat lived up to his standards!





3:24 PM:
PensTV got the goods from Marc-Andre Fleury. Watch and see what he had to say:





1:25 PM:
Coachspeak wih Dan Bylsma…

On the power play:
In terms of power play, we need to do a better job of our execution on our entries and the decisions that we make, the execution to remain in the zone. In particular, in-zone, we’re talking about the halfwall play with Kovalev, Neal and Letang being at the top of the point. It’s part of that group. They’re a team that likes to pressure out initially, we need to deal with that pressure and then take opportunity to exploit the space they are creating underneath the pressure. So it’s a little bit of working with the point guy and the halfwall guy – Kovy – and then the next play, to Neal, expecting that pressure of how we can deal with that. If we have the opportunity to be able to execute and do that, then we can exploit it and take the opportunity to take it to the net with Jordan (Staal) there. So that’s some of the things we’re looking for, but a lot of it is execution more than it is certain positions.

On fighting bad habits and retaliation in a series:
We know it was a factor in Game 1 for our team. The composure we showed and the focus we showed in Game 1 was not there for Game 2. It caused us to not only give them power plays, but it also caused us to get off playing our game. So that’s something we have to be better at. That happens in every playoff series. There’s a tendency to go after certain players, get under people’s skin or get to the goalie. All of those things are mentioned. Successful teams understand that and stay composed and don’t let things rattle them. We know where some of that’s going to be coming from in the next five games. We have to be very very clear in how we’re going to deal with it, and be focused in how we play.

On having a two-day break:
I’d rather play every other day, for sure. But when the two days is in between a change of venues, it makes it a little more timely – you get a day off, or another practice day and a travel day. So it’s not as bad as if we were all sitting in the same city for those two days. But when there’s a change of venue and you have two days, it’s a small break. And after giving up Game 2, then having a break to digest it and get refocused is something we were able to take yesterday. Now, going into Tampa, we have to understand what they did well, what we need to do better and how we can get to our game and take advantage of what we need to take advantage of to have success in a road game.

On his success in Game 3s:
I think you have a change in venue, and you have an opportunity. There’s opportunities for them as well, going back home. But understanding the situation, understanding where we’re at and getting ready to play the next game is something that this group of guys has been good at. And we have to be that way. They did some good things. They have momentum, and they’re going back home into their own building. So being ready for those obstacles and knowing how the game is played and execute is going to be key for Game 3.

On adjusting to how the officials call each game:
Yes, referees are somewhat like an umpire that has a certain strike zone. You know going in that certain referees are going to call the game a certain way. We’re aware of that going in. They’ve done a pretty good job of mixing the referees at this point so that there’s a guy who has a bigger strike call than the other guy so that there’s a balance. We’ve had that in the first two games. We’ve had a pretty good understanding of how the games are going to get called going into the game. We don’t need to kind of wait and see. But you knew pretty much two and a half minutes into the last game, when they called a penalty on Max Talbot for a play that other referees might not call, you know immediately right there how the game’s going to be called and you don’t need any further adjustment than that to know that this game’s going to be called with a little more attention to the extracurricular activity and the scrums, which last game was. You don’t need two periods to figure that one out. I think that’s something that we should expect going right in, and keeping our composure and staying focused on that is where we need to be and will be. Again, it’s a factor for our team staying out of that box and being composed.

On having two top defensive pairs when Tampa Bay has the last change in Games 3 and 4:
In most cases, it’s a good situation to have, having guys you feel comfortable with no matter what line they have on the ice. And then having a pair on the bench that you know can go out if they get last change or are trying to hold back a line in those types of situations. So it gives a nice comfort to have two really shut down pairs that can be on the ice with any type of player. It is a comfort, but we still have to be aware of those situations. There are times, after icings and so forth, where we’re going to have to anticipate what lines are going to be coming out, and Guy Boucher has always done a good job of mixing up his lines. He doesn’t have the same lines very often from game to game and sometimes within the game. So that’s something we’ll be aware of and try to make sure we have our guys out on the ice.



Baby dinosaur: Tony Jovenitti 



1:01 PM:
Sounds heard around the locker room...

Brooks Orpik

On the mood in the locker room:
It’s pretty upbeat. They didn’t do anything spectacular. We made a lot of mistakes. It’s a credit to them that they capitalized on the mistakes we made. Coming into it, everyone expected a long series. We’ve been in a lot worse positions, down 0-2 a couple of times. It’s a group that knows how to keep their composure.

On being frustrated in Game 2:
A couple mistakes we don’ t normally make and then a couple penalties, a couple of their guys got under our skin. It was something we adjusted to yesterday, some shots you have to take from some of those guys that don’t do it during the regular season appear during the postseason. Guys like Dominic Moore, we played against him in Montreal last year. We know what he’s all about. You just have to take that and hopefully shake his hand at the end of the series. 
 


On the importance of Game 3:
The importance is very strong. Going up 2-1 is huge, especially on the road. If you ask them their goal was to come here and get one win. They’re probably happy with where they’re at. We’ll be a lot happier if we got Game 3 as opposed to waiting for Game 4. You always look back at Game 3 as a turning point in a series. 
 


On drawing on anything from last year’s Game 3s:
I think every series is different. This is a completely different team than we had last year too. It’s tough to compare. The importance is still the same, but I don’t think there’s a reason why you win or lose Game 3s. I think they’re all completely different.




Pascal Dupuis

On refocusing after Game 2:
In the playoffs, games are pretty intense. At the same time, after a loss like that you get a chance to regroup and look at the game, see what you did wrong. Obviously we did some right things out there, and couldn’t capitalize, and things we did wrong.

On if there were any areas where they didn’t perform well that jumped off the screen at them:
Just little mistakes here and there, the general part of our game was okay, I could say. They came up with good starts, I think the first two games they definitely outplayed us in the first period of both games. It’s just a matter of getting a good start and play our game. Play our game for 60 minutes instead of little parts here and there.

On if they have to come out and play desperate hockey right off the jump
:
No, no, not at all. We’ve just got to play a solid game and limit the little mental errors.

On the team’s mindset heading into Games 3 and 4 on the road:
We’ve got to win four games. We’re taking it one game at a time right now. We’ve got Game 3 in their building, so they’ll have their fans behind them and we’re the kind of team that knows how to play on the road. I think we’ve played pretty well on the road this season. This is the playoffs, it’s a little more of everything out there. (We’ve) just play our game and limit the little mental breakdowns.


James Neal

On what he and Bylsma talked about during practice in terms of positioning on the power play:
Just little tips, obviously to take the puck to the net. Put yourself into a better position to have a better scoring chance and playing down there, to be able to make quick moves and take it to the net.

On what will get their power play going:
I think it starts just with our break-in. When we go all five back, depending on what breakout we do, we need to execute that. We can’t be all scrambly because then we don't get a chance to get into our positions or get a chance to settle the puck down and start moving it around. That starts with the breakout, big time.

On if that changes at all when they change venues:
Yeah, it definitely changes with the way they’re forechecking us or their PK forecheck. So we’ll look at that, and we’ll adjust accordingly to the way they’re playing out there.

On what else they need to tighten up heading into Game 3:
Just our discipline. We took a couple penalties that were unneeded and we got a little frustrated at times. If we just settle down, relax and not worry about anybody and play our game, we’ll be fine.


Chris Kunitz

On what they saw in Game 2 that they need to tighten up for Game 3:
They got the first goal on us, got us a little bit rattled. We didn’t execute after that as we needed to. Systems-wise, we just have to keep going to the net, make sure we have people in front of (the goalie). We have to stay disciplined. That’s something their skilled players can thrive off of on the power play. So we know that taking penalties is a huge part of the game, we don’t want to take them. And when we do get a power play, we have to capitalize on the situation we have, just even building momentum if we’re not going to score a goal.

On how to get to their game early in a tough road atmosphere:
You have to go play a good road game. Break it down into segments, make sure you do the little things right. Get pucks in, make sure you get a little body on one of them early, get a shot on the net. You try to do the things first and get everybody involved. I think when there’s penalties called early on, that kind of gets you out of your rhythm or routine of getting everybody out and everybody participating. As a lineup we need everyone on our team to help to be able to get the win.

Papa Burgundy: Sam Kasan



11:16 AM:
Pics of the guys at work...(the glass behind the benches is gone because of last night's Pittsburgh Power game, so Tony Jovenitti was able to get some pretty awesome photos).


Meeting of the minds (left); Asham heading on the ice (right)


Duper and Comrie having some quality time together (left); Dupuis moving on to mess around with Max (right)


Conner talking animatedly while Letestu listens intently (left); Kovy doing the ol' twirl-the-stick stretch (right)


Conner and Staalsy (left); Duper = man down! He's all over the place today (right)


Rupper and TK divvying up pucks (left); TK shooting (right)



10:59 AM:
The gang is all here, except for Nick Johnson, Sidney Crosby and Matt Cooke. All of the other Pens are accounted for. Also, Brent Johnson is rockin' a pair of snowy white new pads. We'll have a picture of his new gear for you shortly Here it is:



Could this be the end of the Man in Black? We're not quite sure if Johnny plans on retiring the slick black pads for good or if he's just testing these ones out for a day. We'll keep you posted. In any case, we've got to play Johnny Cash just in case this really is the end.





10:30 AM:
Good morning everyone! We're waiting for the Pens to take the ice for their 11 a.m. practice here at CONSOL Energy Center. Following their skate, the team is heading straight to Tampa for Games 3 and 4 of their first-round series with the Lightning. After a tough loss to the Bolts on Friday that evened the Eastern Conference quarterfinals matchup at 1-1, the Pens will be looking to regain the series lead on the road before returning to Pittsburgh for Game 5 on Saturday.

Although the team had an off-day on Saturday, head coach Dan Bylsma took the time to meet with the media. He discussed the frustation created by Tampa Bay on Friday, how to beat the trap system they play and how his team is going to prepare for Games 3 and 4, among other things. Click here to see what he had to say.

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